Uses and Side Effects of Botulinum Toxin

Clostridium botulinum produce a protein called botulinum toxin, a very potent neuro toxin. This microorganism is the usual cause of bulging canned foods. Don’t ever try to taste it. Even a very small amount is dangerous. Effect of foodborne botulism is usually 18 to 36 hours after ingestion of the food containing the toxin, although cases have varied from 4 hours to 8 days. Early signs of intoxication consist of marked lassitude, weakness and vertigo, usually followed by double vision and progressive difficulty in speaking and swallowing. Difficulty in breathing, weakness of other muscles, abdominal distention, and constipation may also be common symptoms.  botulinum toxin

Botulinum toxin is very dangerous but some people benefit from this poison. Clostridium botulinum toxin is used for treatment of the following:

1) Blepharospasm and strabismus. Blepharospasm is spasm of the eyelid muscle resulting in closure of the eye. Strabismus is abnormal alignment of one or bot eyes.
2) Cosmetic such as removal of wrinkles.
3) Muscle spasms (pain).
4) Upper motor neuron syndrome
5) Sweating
6) Cervical dystonia, the most common form of focal dystonia, is characterized by abnormal squeezing and twisting muscle contractions in the head and neck area

The popular brands are Botox and Dysport.

Last Oct. 15, 2010, US FDA approved the use of Botox to treat chronic migraine. They also stated the possible side effects of Botox.

OnabotulinumtoxinA, marketed as Botox and Botox Cosmetic, has a boxed warning that says the effects of the botulinum toxin may spread from the area of injection to other areas of the body, causing symptoms similar to those of botulism. Those symptoms include swallowing and breathing difficulties that can be life-threatening. There has not been a confirmed serious case of spread of toxin effect when Botox has been used at the recommended dose to treat chronic migraine, severe underarm sweating, blepharospasm, or strabismus, or when Botox Cosmetic has been used at the recommended dose to improve frown lines.

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